The Modern Online Gig Economy, Consumer Benefit, and the Importance of Regulatory Humility

In previous work, AAF focused on the online and traditional gig economy by exploring the changes in this labor force since the economic downturn. But within this broad class, a narrower category of networked technologies has taken the spotlight to become a constant focus for policymakers, critics, and presidential hopefuls. These technologies meld peer-to-peer networks on both the production and consumption sides to sell goods and services. While labor practices have been a constant topic of conversation, many have lost sight of the primary benefit of new network-based service technologies, and the chance that it affords policymakers.

The Most Expensive Dodd-Frank Rule Adds to Law’s Burden

Two new Federal Reserve rulemakings in the last month have pushed Dodd-Frank’s aggregate financial costs past $35 billion, with $29.3 billion in final rules. With more than five years of implementation, it’s clear that regulators still have dozens of new measures left to propose and finalize. The most expensive portions of the law could ultimately lie ahead for consumers.

The Week in Regulation

After $2.8 billion in regulatory costs last week, regulators bested that performance with $2.9 billion this week. In total, annualized costs this week were $1.3 billion, compared to $497 million in benefits, and a somewhat ridiculous 16 million hours of paperwork. To put the paperwork in perspective, it would take more than 8,000 full-time employees to complete the requirements from the last five days of new regulation. The per capita regulatory burden for 2015 is $560.

The County-Level Effects of EPA’s 2008 Ozone Standards on Employment and Pay

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a new round of air quality standards for ground-level ozone. The measure lowers the threshold for “nonattainment” status from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb and imposes $1.4 billion in nationwide annual costs. Generally, “nonattainment” counties exceed EPA’s threshold for ozone (“smog”) pollution. Counties deemed nonattainment must work with their states to devise a State Implementation Plan (SIP) to meet EPA goals. According to EPA, this must, “show how the nonattainment area will attain the primary [ozone] standard ‘as expeditiously as practicable,’ but no later than within the relevant time frame.”

Big Cost, Little Benefit: The UN Paris Climate Deal

Research from the American Action Forum (@AAF) finds that the U.S. will have to spend an additional $38 to $45 billion annually in order to reach the goals set by the United Nations in Paris. This would be added onto the president’s already expensive Clean Power Plan. Combined, these regulations could reach $73 billion per year in costs. The benefits of this would be a global temperature decrease of less than 0.2 degrees.

Click here to read the full research.

Previewing Paris: U.S. to Spend an Additional $38 to $45 Billion to Meet 2025 Goals

Previewing Paris: U.S. to Spend an Additional $38 to $45 Billion to Meet 2025 Goals

As the world meets in Paris at the United Nations (UN) Conference on Climate Change during the first two weeks in December, it is important to take note how the U.S. has already regulated greenhouse gases (GHGs). According to American Action Forum (AAF) research, regulators have already imposed $26 billion in annual costs to limit GHGs and have proposed an additional $1.7 billion. However, to meet President Obama’s climate goals the nation will have to spend up to $45 billion more each year by 2025.

Primer: EHR Stage 3 Meaningful Use Requirements

On October 6, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) published its final rule on Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use Requirements for the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program.  This program adjusts payments to Medicare and Medicaid providers for implementing and “meaningfully using” (or not) interoperable electronic health records (EHR) systems. These standards are being implemented in three stages to gradually move providers toward the desired end point: to “provide efficiencies in administrative processes which support clinical effectiveness, leveraging automated patient safety checks, supporting clinical decision making, enabling wider access to health information for patients, and allowing for dynamic communication between providers.”

White House Report on Regulation Drastically Understates Costs

Based on initial calculations from the American Action Forum (AAF), we predicted approximately $4.5 billion in new annual costs and $20 billion in benefits. This compares to OIRA’s range of $3 to $4.4 billion in costs and $9.8 to $22.8 billion in benefits, within AAF’s ranges. However, if the OIRA report included more than just its thirteen listed regulations, the actual cost figure would be $14.4 billion, or roughly three times the “official” amount.

The House on Regulation: Addressing Billion-Dollar Rules

“Mega-rules,” regulations that impose more than a billion dollars in economic costs, are growing more frequent, with obvious economic consequences. From 2006 to 2008, the nation averaged two of these rules annually. From 2009 to present, this figure has increased to roughly three per year. During the Obama Administration, these mega-rules have imposed total annual costs of $65.1 billion, with a related 19.5 million paperwork burden hours.

Oversight of Regulatory Impact Analyses for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regulations

For a variety of reasons, regulatory activity has increased at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Measured through rules that contain unfunded mandates, the cost of new rules, or the agency’s paperwork burden, EPA is more active. As an outgrowth of this activity, the agency has issued five rules since 2012 where the costs easily exceed the benefits. Although air quality continues to improve in the U.S., the amount Americans pay for cleaner air continues to grow more expensive. Despite at least $12 billion in clean air rules since 2009, the rate of improvement in air quality has slowed in recent years. Regulators, including EPA, continue to rely on the co-benefits of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) to justify expensive new regulations. Ten years ago, both of these measures were rarely incorporated into Regulatory Impact Analyses (RIA), but now they can generate a majority of monetized benefits. The failure of cabinet agencies to apply a uniform methodology to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) has led to inconsistent evaluation in major rules. EPA generally has a threshold for determining whether a rule imposes a “significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities,” but failing to label rules with such an impact has led to criticism from the Small Business Administration and other entities.
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